The Case for Christ (2017) Movie Script

YOUNG MAN: I'm starting my own paper.
I'll show you how it works.
Go faster!
MAN: I'll get a job.
We'll buy a house.
Couple of kids.
Don't worry.
I got it all worked out.
MAN 2:
Ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome
the newest and youngest
addition to the Tribune team,
Lee Strobel.
(muffled cheers)
It is my distinct pleasure
to honor one of our own
for his nationally acclaimed
Ford Pinto investigative series.
Lee, your work has given justice
to families across the country
and peeled back
a corporate cover-up.
So I present you with
the Len H. Small Memorial Award
for community service
And congratulations
on your promotion
- to Legal Affairs editor!
- (cheering, applause)
Thank you, Mr. Cook,
for the award,
for the promotion.
Um... (clears throat)
mostly for the promotion.
- Uh... (chuckles)
- You're welcome.
The only way to truth
is through facts.
Facts are our greatest weapon
against superstition,
against ignorance
and against tyranny.
Now, I learned those words
from my mentor,
- Mr. Ray Nelson, everybody.
- Thank you.
Let's let him hear it, huh?
Huh? His ego needs it.
Bring it on.
- That's enough.
- (light laughter)
Now, you all know Ray.
He's a legend in the business.
But, to me, Ray, you've been
more like a father, so...
thank you.
- Thank you. Thank you, son.
- (light laughter)
Most importantly, uh,
I owe this honor
to my beautiful and very patient
and very pregnant wife, uh...
and to my favorite
little lady, Alison.
I love you both more
than you'll ever know.
- GROUP: Aw...
- Yes, sweetie?
ALISON (whispering):
Now can we eat?
(Lee laughs)
- "Now can we eat, Daddy?"
- GROUP: Yes!
- Yes!
- I'll drink to that.
- MAN: Cheers!
- Thank you.
- LEE: What's next?
- LESLIE: I got "pasta."
Ooh. Well, then.
Of course, she finds the
biggest word on here, right?
Wow, that is a big word.
Not for a girl
who's lost a tooth.
- Oh, okay.
- LEE: Oh, big girl.
I'm still impressed.
A big girl who didn't
eat her dinner.
- I'm full.
- LESLIE: You're full?
- LEE: ls that right?
- Yeah.
Are you gonna tell me
you're hungry when we get home?
All right,
I'm gonna give you dessert
if you eat one more noodle.
- That was easy.
- See?
Just have to bribe her
a little bit.
- Chew it up.
- LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
(makes slurping sound)
We done?
- Show me done. -There's still
spaghetti in there.
- LESLIE: Swallow that.
- (laughing)
Take this. Go.
- (laughing)
- LESLIE: Good work.
LESLIE: You know, I'm feeling
pretty good about myself.
- LEE: Yeah?
- LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
How is that?
I am married
to a published author.
(Lee chuckles)
That's very impressive.
- Mm-hmm. Isn't it?
- Mm-hmm.
I'm proud of you.
- Thank you.
- Mm-hmm.
- I love you.
- I love you.
You and only you.
- LEE: Mm-hmm?
- LESLIE: Sweetie?
Ali, what is it, baby?
- Are you choking?
- I think she's choking.
- Ali, come on, cough.
- Hey, sweetie,
just breathe for Mommy, okay?
- Ali? Please, Lee. -Everybody,
please, just give her...
- give her some space.
- Lee, do something, Lee.
- LESLIE: Ali, I'm right here.
Okay, -Come on, honey, come on.
- Baby, it's gonna be okay.
- Can somebody help us, please?!
- Call an ambulance!
- (indistinct chatter)
- It's okay, baby. I'm right here.
- Look at Daddy, okay?
Okay, breathe for me.
You're gonna be all right.
(stammers) Baby, I'm
right here. I don't know...
I don't know what...
I don't know what to...
- I love you, sweetheart. Just...
- She can't breathe!
- Hand her to me. Quick, quick.
I'm a nurse. -Ali, please!
- Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick.
- Okay, just stay calm.
Come on.
Come on, Ali, cough for me.
- Cough, honey.
- She can't breathe, Lee!
She can't...
- (coughs)
- LESLIE: Sweetie.
- WOMAN: Cough, baby. Cough, baby.
- Sweetie? Okay...
- (Alison coughs)
- LESLIE: Okay...
- (murmuring)
- (coughs)
- Just breathe, okay?
- WOMAN: She's coughing.
- She's fine now. She's fine.
- Okay?
- LESLIE: Okay, just breathe.
- LEE: Thank you so much.
Thank you, thank you.
- I don't know how to thank you.
- Come here, baby. Come here.
- Thank you so much.
- You don't have to thank me.
I'm a nurse at Mercy Hospital.
She's gonna be fine now.
We're so lucky.
Well, it's not luck.
It's Jesus.
My husband and I were on our way
to another restaurant tonight.
Something told me
I needed to be here.
Wow. Thank you.
Um, Leslie.
Alfie. Alfie Davis.
I'm not gonna forget you.
God bless you.
(Lee sighs)
Just keeping it
interesting, huh?
You keep drinking that.
(insects trilling)
ALISON: I can still
have candy, though, right?
LESLIE (chuckling):
We'll have to see about that.
You get some sleep now,
all right, missy?
- Mom?
- Hmm?
Who's Jesus?
Jesus was a man... great man...
And... you know,
we've talked about God, right?
Honey, you know
how Mommy and Daddy
read you stories at night...
You know, the fairy tales
that you like?
So, believing in God
is kind of like that...
It's really nice stories.
But we are atheists.
Atheists don't believe in God.
What do they believe?
Uh, they believe in what's real,
in what we can see,
what we can touch.
Like What?
Oh... like this.
- (Lee grunting playfully)
- (Alison laughing)
(Lee chuckles)
Well, I guess
I'm an atheist, too.
LEE (chuckles):
Get some sleep, booger, okay?
Here's Beary.
There you go.
Fudge Pop.
All right, sleep good.
I love you.
- Yes, love?
- Good night.
Good night, baby.
I thought we said we weren't
gonna force anything on her.
She asked.
Right, so as long as
it's what we believe.
Ugh. Are-are we really gonna
go around on this again, Les?
I guess so.
Babe, I...
I am grateful for what
that woman did tonight...
But it was...
it's a coincidence.
It didn't mean anything.
How can you say that?
She was going
to another restaurant,
and something
made her come to ours.
You think that means nothing?
I know it means nothing.
Can I tell you what it means?
It means that we
would've lost Alison.
If that woman hadn't been
there, we would've lost her.
Our whole world
would've changed forever.
I... Yes, but it didn't.
We're all okay.
Everyone's okay.
(indistinct conversations)
There you go. I got ya. Whoa.
Hey, chief.
I could've edited three pieces
with my red pencil
in the time it takes me
to do one piece
on this ridiculous thing.
My new book.
Just picked these up
from the mailroom.
Wanted you to be
the first to see it.
Hey, there was a cop shooting
this weekend.
Englewood. Officer survived.
See what you can get me
on the shooter, James Hicks.
No, that's cop beat.
I'm Legal Affairs now.
Why don't you give that
to Monroe?
Now, you may be
a golden boy
to the suits upstairs,
but to me you're still just
a beat reporter here.
Thank you.
Uh, don't close the...
London. Hey.
Want an autographed copy
of my new book?
- Not one bit.
- Ooh.
Jealousy doesn't look good
on you, my friend.
Then again, nothing does.
Overnight legal briefs
from AP, Mr. Strobel.
Thanks, Rod. Hey.
Want you to go through
yesterday's local rags.
See if anyone reported
on a cop shooting.
Perp's name is Hicks...
James Hicks.
Hicks. James Hicks. Sure.
- Okay.
- You got 30 minutes.
I'll take a book
if you're still offering.
Hey, London.
Hear that? Got my first taker.
He doesn't know any better.
LEE: Bet you're gonna go far
in this business, kid.
Even if you are sucking up.
29 minutes, Rod.
ALFIE: Room 241, bed two,
going home today.
Want to prep
for discharge, please?
Yes. Hi.
Alfie. Yes.
Um... muffins.
I have not... been able
to stop thinking about it.
What if you hadn't been there?
There is no "what if" with God.
You're so sure.
How can you be so sure?
Do you really want
an answer to that?
- LESLIE: Alfie. So sorry.
- Ah!
I'm sorry. The babysitter.
- I'm-I'm sorry.
- Oh, it's fine.
- Okay. Okay.
- Come on. Come on in.
O soul, are you weary
And troubled?
No light in the darkness
You see?
There's light for a look
at the Savior...
PREACHER: Sometimes God speaks
to us in unexpected
and surprising ways.
So tonight, for example,
if you find yourself here
for the first time,
I just want to encourage you
to open your heart
and take a chance.
Maybe God's trying to get
your attention right now.
And, trust me,
if you listen expectantly
for His whispers,
you'll hear them.
You Will.
Maybe you're afraid.
Maybe you have doubts.
Maybe you've felt something
missing in your life
and you don't know quite
what it is.
That's fine.
God is patient.
And when you're ready,
I promise you,
He'll be right there waiting
for you with open arms.
- LEE: Hey.
- Hi.
Sorry I missed dinner.
New boss piling on the work.
I think he's punishing me
for the award.
How was your day?
It was good.
Officer Koblinsky.
- Who are you?
- Lee Strobel.
I'm with the Chicago Tribune.
Close call, huh?
So, I'm looking to do a story
on the shooting.
You know, hero cop,
injured in the line of duty,
that whole angle.
I'm not supposed to talk
to anybody from the press.
I know, but you've gotta
be able to give me something.
You know the deal. Not while
it's under investigation.
Look, I read your report.
I know you and James Hicks
got in a scuffle,
I know he shot you, but come on.
Give me a little something
off the record?
Why do you think he did it, huh?
Look, thanks anyway, okay?
All right.
I will go find another hero cop
to interview.
Mr. Strobel,
do you want a story?
Do one on the gangbanger
who did this.
Put him away for good.
Feel better, huh?
We find the answer right here
in the Book of John,
chapter one, verse 12,
"But as many as received Him,
"to them He gave the right
to become children of God,
to those who believe
in His name."
So, what does it mean to
not just believe but receive?
And how does it lead us...
So, did you ever go to church?
LESLIE: Yeah, I went
to church as a girl.
And my mom sung hymns to me.
But Lee and I moved on
from how we were raised.
And, uh, what is it
that Lee believes in again?
Just the facts.
I've always been
kind of curious,
but, uh, lately, you know,
having Alison and now...
It's just starting to seem
more important to know.
And I don't believe
that it was a coincidence
that you came to the
restaurant... I don't... so...
What do I do with that?
What do you think
you should do with it?
I don't know. I've just...
I've just spent most of my life
feeling like God
is a million miles away.
Oh, no, sweetheart.
God is not a million miles away.
He's right here...
right now,
waiting for you to talk to Him.
The TV's all staticky again.
Tried banging on it.
That's not working anymore.
Did you check the roof?
Yeah. The, uh, antenna's fine.
Maybe you should call
the repair guy,
see if he can come by
and take a peek at it tomorrow.
Hey, so I went to see Alfie
last week.
- Alfie, Alfie, Alfie...
- Alfie, Alfie.
who saved our daughter?
- Right.
- Alfie.
So, uh, she invited me
to her church,
and I went.
(laughs) Really?
Oh, I would've loved
to have seen that.
Yeah, well, I wanted to go.
(Lee sighs)
Can't we just give it
a break, Les? Okay?
I know you were rattled
the other night.
Are you interested in hearing
me or just condescending?
No, that's not... that's not
what I'm trying to do here.
Okay? Alison's fine, hon.
Let's not go crazy.
I'm not acting crazy.
Am I acting crazy?
It was the wrong choice
of words.
I don't think you're crazy.
I think you're pregnant.
And a little crazy.
And scared, and... I get it.
Do you?
Because I'm not done yet.
(Leslie sighs)
So, I went to church.
And I don't know exactly
how it happened, but...
I felt something.
And so I went again tonight.
And I know this
is gonna be weird to hear,
because it's weird to say,
I prayed.
So, what are you...
what are you telling me, Les?
I'm saying that...
I talked to Jesus.
I... I told Him
I want Him in my life.
You what?
- Why would you...?
- Hey, stay with me.
Hon, this is a good thing.
What did this Alfie woman
say to you?
It was my decision.
- Okay?
- I don't accept it.
You don't get to accept it.
I'm not asking.
- (Lee shushing)
- I'm telling you what happened.
You're not hearing me.
Okay. Listen, hon.
It's me.
This is me talking to you.
It's me.
Honestly, this is something
that I think I've been thinking
for a long time
and I just haven't
been able to...
to say anything
because of who you are.
Oh, are you kidding me, Les?
- I know this is a lot, hon.
- A lot?
A lot? You drop this on me.
What does that even mean?
I don't know what it means,
but I know it's
a good thing for me.
- For us. Yes.
- No. No. Okay.
- Yes.
- Okay, this is not us, Les.
Whatever this is, okay,
it is not us.
You are on your own...
Can you listen to me
and not get mad?
I am listening to you,
and that's the problem,
so if you're serious
about this...
- And I am.
- Okay, well, then I...
then I don't know
what to say to you
- about whatever this is.
- Don't say anything, then.
Just listen to what
I'm trying to say,
because I'm trying to explain
that I felt something
that is maybe more real
than anything
I've ever felt in my life.
More real than anything
you've felt in your life.
- Okay, I'm not trying to compare.
- Got it. Got it.
- I'm...
- No. You know what?
I don't want to hear
any more of this.
- Come on. Hon...
- Okay?
Where are you going?
To file a missing persons
- That's not funny.
- Not meant to be.
(door opens and closes)
Thank you.
I love you, Lee Strobel.
You and only you.
LEE: I feel like I can
get through to her before
she gets too deep,
but I remember,
you went through something
like this,
uh, with your daughter...
With Lori, right?
Yes, yes, I did.
It's a conundrum.
You see, in times of crisis,
we humans tend to seek meaning,
don't we?
You've read Bertrand Russell,
of course.
Yeah, of course.
I mean, not since college,
There's no way that Leslie
would read that right now.
Yeah, my daughter wouldn't,
but I kept picking away
at the delusion
until she finally came around.
But I gotta tell you, Lee,
doesn't come without a price.
How do you mean?
Whatever this is for Leslie,
maybe it's not
such a terrible thing.
I mean, if it
brings her comfort,
are you sure it's not something
you can live with?
Yes, I'm sure.
I'm not gonna lose
my wife and my kids
to some thing
that I can't even
reason with. No.
I can't even pretend
to go along with this, Ray.
I mean, you of all people
should understand that.
I do.
And I know that Leslie
is a reasonable woman,
so I think that reason
is probably the best approach.
And, as always, it comes down
to facts and truth.
Now, you present her
with the facts,
and I'm sure she will find
her way back to the truth.
Meanwhile, my collection
is at your disposal.
Take your time.
Appreciate it, Ray.
Oh, Lee, one more thing.
I'll be praying for you.
- That's not even funny.
- (Ray laughing)
LEE: Kenny,
let me ask you something.
Uh, you're into all this
God nonsense.
Wow, you sure know how
to charm a source.
So, a bunch of Bible thumpers
got to Leslie.
I'm afraid she joined your cult.
So, if somebody...
somebody wanted to do
an investigation
into Christianity...
Oh, like a hit piece.
Well, uh...
you know, if that's
where the evidence leads.
Seems to me you got yourself
a catch-22.
What's that?
Let's say you debunk
How's Leslie gonna live
with the man who destroyed
the very thing that now
gives her life meaning?
(stammers) I...
Because I should be the thing
that gives her life meaning.
And then what if Leslie's right
and you prove your theory
of science and reason wrong?
How are you gonna live
with yourself?
I'm willing to take that chance.
Okay. You're a journalist.
Check it out.
Where would you start?
Unless you want to do two years
of seminary, I'd say go
straight for the jugular.
The entire Christian faith
hinges on the resurrection
of Jesus.
If it didn't happen,
it's a house of cards.
He's reduced to
a misunderstood rabbi at best.
At worst, he's a lunatic
who was martyred.
For a guy who thinks I'm trying
to assassinate Christianity,
you sure you want
to hand me that gun?
I'm pretty sure
you're not gonna be able
- to pull the trigger.
- All right.
Who's the big authority
on the Resurrection?
Dr. Gary Habermas.
He debated Antony Flew.
That guy's one of my heroes.
He's in Wisconsin, by the way.
Big debate this weekend.
- Wisconsin?
- Mm-hmm.
Who would go to Wisconsin?
REPORTER (over radio):
spike in gang violence,
especially in the communities
of Wrigleyville,
Lincoln Park, and Englewood,
as evidenced...
Dr. Habermas,
if Christians want to hold on
to their belief in a giant
cosmic imaginary friend...
- (light laughter)
- that's all well and good,
but don't try to stand
your historical technique
up against a tsunami
of legitimate scholarship.
- You will drown.
- (laughter)
HABERMAS: Well, thank you
for the warning, Dr. Singer,
but are you not aware
that Gerd Ludemann,
one of the most famous atheist
New Testament scholars,
now believes
that the earliest known report
of the Resurrection
was formed no more than
three years after the Cross?
Now, these are your colleagues,
sir, not mine.
Something you'd like
to ask me, Mr. Strobel?
Yeah, well, I-l...
so I read your book,
and there's something
that stuck out to me.
How can anyone talk about
historical evidence
for the Resurrection
when the Resurrection,
by nature, is a miracle?
Right? We all know miracles
can't be proven scientifically.
Correct, but we don't have
to prove a miracle
to prove a resurrection.
(chuckling): Okay. Love to
hear you explain that one.
No, you just have to show
that Jesus died
and he was seen afterwards.
Right, but the very people
who claim
that they saw him
are religious zealots.
So, in my line of work,
we call those "biased sources."
Well, I'm not interested
in bias either, Mr. Strobel.
You see, I care about the facts
for professional
and-and personal reasons.
Right, so where are the facts,
Dr. Habermas?
The Resurrection narrative is
more legend than it is history.
Really? Well, not according
to historical records.
Did you know that we have
a report of the Resurrection
with specific eyewitnesses
that dates all the way back
within months
of the Resurrection itself?
That source also adds
that 500 separate people
saw Jesus at the same time.
We're not talking decades
or centuries
after the Cross, Mr. Strobel.
It's months.
Hey, you a coffee drinker?
Uh, sure.
ALISON: I should be able
to reach the faucet.
When am I gonna be taller?
Before you know it.
- Ooh.
- What's wrong, Mommy?
Nothing's wrong.
It's just the little one
saying hello.
Okay, so 500 witnesses,
but that's still just one
historical source: the Bible.
Wrong. There are at least nine
ancient sources
both inside and outside
the Bible
confirming that disciples
and others
encountered Jesus
after the Crucifixion.
But-but they were already
followers of Jesus.
Well, not all of them.
Think of Saul of Tarsus.
He originally was a persecutor
of Christians.
He hunted them down
and killed them.
Yet he died the Apostle Paul,
proclaiming that Jesus
was the Son of God.
But-but let's not
kid ourselves here.
People die for lies
all the time.
900 people died drinking
poison Kool-Aid at Jonestown.
True, and there are
other examples like that
throughout history,
but here's the difference.
People don't
willingly drink poison
for something
that they know is a lie.
Fair point.
If the early Church martyrs
knew that the Resurrection
was a hoax,
then why would they
willingly die for it?
- Would you?
- Um, I want to go back
to something
that you said earlier.
You said that, uh...
that this was personal to you.
Why is that?
I lost my wife Debbie to cancer.
I'm sorry about that.
It was the worst thing
that will ever happen to me.
(takes deep breath)
But in my time of loss, it...
it made me confront my beliefs.
That is where I found
my true comfort.
Because I know that I am gonna
see my wife again someday.
And... forgive me,
but as a man who...
who claims to value
hard evidence,
don't you find
that that sort of, um,
hopeful thinking
weakens your argument?
Not one bit.
The fact that I benefit
from gravity
isn't proof that it's real,
just as my dislike
for mosquitoes
isn't an argument
against their existence.
You see, what I... what I want
and what I don't want
has no impact on truth.
That being said,
if Christ's resurrection means
that I get to be
with Debbie again,
I have no problem
being happy about that.
Sometimes truth reminds us
of what's really important.
(engine revving)
(pager beeping)
Oh, Lee, Lee. Lee.
Alfie. Remember me?
Yeah, of course.
What happened?
Okay, well, her water broke.
She couldn't reach you,
so she called me,
and... well, I drove her here.
Again... thank you.
- I'll take it from here.
- Okay.
(knock at door)
- Hey, Les.
- LESLIE: Lee.
- Daddy.
- Hey, peanut.
You a big helper for Mama?
Lee, where were you?
- I was working, hon. -Hon,
I paged you and I paged you
- and I paged you and I...
- I know, I know. Okay?
- You okay?
- Mm-hmm.
He's beautiful.
They're cleaning him up.
We were at home,
and I started cramping, and...
Ali was scared. Right?
And we prayed,
and everything got better.
Good. I'm glad.
(baby crying)
- Oh...
- Oh, hi, sweetie.
Hey, come here, honey.
Oh, hi.
- (chuckles)
- Oh, he's got healthy lungs.
Meet your son, Kyle Christopher.
- Hey.
- (gasps) Hi.
Welcome to the world, buddy.
(fussing quietly)
You should call your parents,
don't you think?
People can change, you know?
Well, the announcement's
in the paper.
They can read it
just like everybody else.
(radio playing indistinctly)
Good gracious.
(horn honks)
Mr. Marlow.
Lee Strobel, Chicago Tribune.
You'll have to excuse me.
Sir, you've been
dodging my calls
about James Hicks
for over a week.
I tried talking to PD.
They won't tell me anything,
Why can't I get a statement
from anyone?
What's the big secret?
Hold this.
Tell you what...
Why don't you come to the jail
and talk to my client yourself?
Maybe you can get him
to say more to you
than he'll say to me.
(lock buzzes)
Mr. Hicks, I'm Lee Strobel.
I'm with the, uh...
the Chicago Tribune.
I'd like to talk to you
about the shooting.
I figured that maybe you'd want
to give me, uh,
your side of things... you know,
help yourself out a bit here.
I didn't do nothing.
Okay, so then... so then
tell me how it all went down.
I don't know. It's fuzzy.
Joe started shoving me around
for no reason.
Who's Joe?
- Koblinsky.
- HICKS: The cop.
He put his hands on me,
so I fought back,
like anyone would.
We go at it for a bit,
then a gun goes off.
- Whose gun?
- I don't know.
Like I told you,
I was drinking that night.
- It was fuzzy.
- Crime scene report says
they found your .22-caliber
pistol in the bushes,
that it was missing a bullet
and it had your prints
all over it.
Koblinsky carries a .38.
His gun was never fired.
In fact, it was never taken
out of its holster, so...
if you didn't shoot him,
then who did?
My old lady
kicked me out that night.
I got a little crazy,
you know, fired off a round
at the building,
but I didn't aim it
at nobody or hurt nobody.
I tossed my piece in the bushes
when Koblinsky rode up on me.
That's it... he tossed it
in the bushes.
I tossed it in the bushes.
Mr. Hicks,
are you still affiliated
with the Gangster Disciples?
You know what this is?
This is a waste of my time.
Sir, I- | am trying
to help you here,
and nothing that you've told me
is gonna change
the evidence
that's stacked against you,
which right now
is pretty overwhelming.
What you talking about?
You don't know me.
Okay, sir,
you gotta come up with
a better excuse
than "the dog ate my bullet"
if you're gonna beat
this thing, Mr. Hicks.
(door closes)
Your client's guilty as sin.
- You know that, right?
- Really?
(bell tolling)
Father Marquez. Lee Strobel.
- Thank you for seeing me. l...
- Of course. Of course.
I, uh... I should tell you
I'm a bit of a history buff
myself, so...
- Oh. -Yeah, I'm-I'm...
I'm particularly intrigued
with your archaeological work.
Oh. A former life.
Uh, former life, yes.
I'm a... I'm a bit surprised,
given your, uh...
your stellar reputation
that you just
gave all that up for, uh, this.
Well, would you like to be
more specific?
Well, it just seems to me that,
for the better part
of 2,000 years,
Christianity has been
creating these...
these rituals and these rules.
You know, they've erected
these elaborate
and often expensive cathedrals,
and all of that
to support a faith
that I believe
is-is ultimately built on sand.
And yet it's all still standing.
Yes, because people
keep telling each other
the same stories
over and over again.
Just because I write
something down
and I bury it in the dirt,
that doesn't make it true.
I think I'm beginning to see
the crux of your visit.
Look, I...
I understand
that a number of people
claimed to have seen Jesus
after his crucifixion
and some of them
even wrote it down,
but I guess my question is:
How-how can we be sure
of the reliability
of those manuscripts?
Well, the same way
we authenticate
any historical document:
by comparing and contrasting
the copies
that have been recovered.
It's called textual criticism.
The more copies we have,
the better that we can
and figure out if what
the original was saying
is historically accurate.
And the earlier they come from
in history, the better.
Take Homer's "Iliad,"
for example.
Is this real?
It's as real
as the Macedonian dirt
that I dug it up from.
LEE: Well, the Greeks
considered this their Bible
- for many centuries.
- Yes, they did.
That is one of 1,565 copies
in existence today.
Now, the "Iliad"
was originally composed
- 800 years before Christ.
- Okay.
This Greek copy is dated
at the third century A.D.
(Lee inhales deeply)
So... (exhales)
800... that's-that's...
1,100 years between this copy
and the original, yes?
Correct. There is only one
ancient collection of writings
that has more authenticated
copies than the "lliad."
Can you guess what that is?
You're gonna tell me the Bible.
The New Testament.
And how many copies is that?
To date, archaeologists
have recovered 5,843
Greek New Testament manuscripts.
That's four times as many
as the "lliad."
- Really?
- The earliest fragment
of the Gospel of John
was found in ancient Egypt,
and it dates
to the second century A.D.
How close is that
to the original?
Less than 30 years.
I have one of the fragments
in my collection.
- It's quite a treasure, isn't it?
- Hmm.
After the New Testament
and the "lliad,"
runners-up don't even
come close.
We only have a hundred copies
of Sophocles,
seven copies
of Plato's tetralogies
and only five copies
of anything by Aristotle.
In fact, if you laid the
surviving copies of Aristotle
one on top of the other,
it would make barely four feet.
You do the same with surviving
copies of the New Testament,
the stack would be a mile high.
Nothing else in history
even comes close.
How is that for "reliable"?
LEE: Well, Father,
I certainly appreciate it.
You've given me a lot
of food for thought.
MARQUEZ (chuckling):
Entirely my pleasure.
Oh, wow.
The Shroud of Turin.
That is a fantastic
Uh, the actual shroud
is in the Cathedral
of Saint John the Baptist
in Italy.
Under lock and key.
Of course.
No one's ever proven
if the shroud
is the actual burial cloth
of the Christ,
but whenever someone looks in
those eyes for the first time,
the Galilean who hung
on the cross two millennia ago
suddenly becomes a real person.
But why would he do it?
Why... why allow himself
to be killed
if-if he really is the...
the Son of God?
Why not use his power
to defend himself?
The answer to that
is what got me
out of the dirt
and into the church.
It's really very simple.
- Mm-hmm.
Carry on, my wayward son
There'll be peace
when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more...
LEE: You're saying
that the historical Christ
is identical
to the religious basis
for Jesus Christ?
VOICE: Please deposit one
dollar to continue talking.
Dr. Yamaguchi, could you hold
for one second, please?
Hi. Lee Strobel
with the Chicago Tribune.
How are you, sir?
Dr. Ben Witherington
told me he'd be
letting you know
that I'd be calling.
Well, no, I just wanted
to check on the validity
of a few historical documents,
if I could.
And if I claim
to be a wise man
It surely means
that I don't know
On a stormy sea
of moving emotion
Tossed about
I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course
for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say
Carry on, my wayward son
There'll be peace
when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more.
(baby crying)
(shushing quietly)
(crying stops)
A-one, a-two...
How many licks does it take
to get to the Tootsie Roll
center of a Tootsie Pop?
The world may never know.
What on earth?
It's 3:00 in the morning, hon.
- What you doing?
- Oh, uh...
a little research for a story.
(Leslie sighs)
What's your story on?
Imported German beer?
Oh, the judgment.
Here it comes.
- I'm not judging you.
- Bring it on.
I'm worried, hon, that you've
been up late every night
or out.
I just... I feel like
you're not here with me.
Well, whose fault is that,
You've obviously had
one too many.
- You're being a jerk.
- So this is my fault, then?
- (sighs)
- Sweetheart,
I'm not the one who went
and changed. You did that.
I don't know,
maybe I wasn't enough for you.
Maybe... maybe you had to go
find yourself a new man.
- What?
- Yes.
You're cheating on me.
With Jesus.
You're hilarious.
You went off the deep end,
and now you're pissed off
'cause I won't jump in
after you.
I'm gonna sit this one out.
- All right?
- Great.
I'm going back to sleep.
- I'm gonna crash on the couch.
- Fine.
Hey, I didn't sign up
for this, Les!
I want my wife back!
(taking deep breaths)
Please just tell me what to do.
Just tell me what to do.
Hey. Good morning.
Did you sleep good last night?
You have sweet dreams?
- Mm-hmm.
- Good.
Okay, well, I'll see you later,
all right, baby?
Rolling in at the crack of noon.
Just trying to get to the bottom
of this cop shooting, chief.
By reading Voltaire.
Can't wait to see
how that's gonna play in.
Well, that's for
something different.
How long till I'm reading copy?
I'm trying, Okay?
There's a big story here.
I feel it.
Yeah, I need to feel it
right here.
I know that, and I'm gonna do
my best to make that happen.
- (phone rings)
- All right?
Oh, excuse me.
Legal Affairs desk.
- MAN: Lee Strobel?
- Speaking.
Yeah, this is, uh, Bill Craig.
I'm sorry. Who?
Bill Craig.
Dr. Craig, thank you
for returning my call.
I appreciate that.
Yeah, I'm sorry for the delay.
I'm-I'm calling
from Jerusalem.
I have to give a lecture
any minute. I just, uh...
I didn't want
to keep you waiting.
I'll cut right to the chase.
So, I've been doing research
into the purported
resurrection of Jesus,
and I want to run
a theory by you.
Maybe the reason
that the tomb was empty
was because Jesus' body was
never there in the first place.
Because we know that the Romans
used to throw the bodies of...
of, uh, crucifixion subjects
to the dogs.
- Right? -Well, there's
no evidence for that,
but there are specific records
that didn't happen to Jesus.
- And what records are those?
- Well, actually,
the earliest recorded accounts
tell us that Jesus was properly
buried in a tomb...
And the Romans did allow
for burial
of some crucifixion victims.
But then there's something
that still doesn't add up to me
about all of these
supposed eyewitnesses
that claimed to have found
Jesus' empty tomb.
What, the fact that they
were all women?
Yeah, because...
because we know that,
according to Jewish customs,
women were deemed
to be unreliable witnesses.
- Am I right?
- Well, true.
So, why did all four
gospel writers record
that it was women
who discovered the empty tomb?
(laughing): It...
So I'm asking you that.
Well, if you were
a first-century Jew
making up this story
out of thin air,
then you would never say
that women discovered the tomb.
- It would damage your case,
not help it. -Okay.
So maybe we're dealing with the
world's most inept disciples.
Or maybe the disciples reported
what actually happened
and let the chips fall
where they may.
Okay, all right,
but you-you have to admit here
that there is a...
there is a gaping hole
- in all of this.
- A gaping hole?
The-the fact that the gospels
are filled
with contradictions
about the empty tomb.
Okay? If I turned in a story
that was this jumbled,
I'd be out of a job.
If we look through the gospels,
you start at...
start at Matthew, okay?
Matthew puts Mary Magdalene and
some other Mary at the tomb.
You flip over to Mark,
he adds Salome.
You go to Luke, he adds Mary,
mother of James,
and then some lady named Joanna.
What-what is that?
You need a Sherpa guide
to sort your way
through this mess.
Sure, there are differences,
but that
doesn't trouble most historians.
Why doesn't that trouble...?
It troubles me.
It should trouble them.
Because the core of the story
is the same in all four.
After Jesus is placed
in the tomb,
it's visited on Sunday morning
by a small group of women,
and they find the body is gone.
Now, you've studied law.
Yeah, law, yes.
Then you know that,
when policemen question
several witnesses at a
crime scene, they never expect
the secondary details
to be consistent,
as long as the core account
is the same.
In fact, if they're
too similar, it's suspect.
- That's true.
- Well, that's exactly
what we're talking about here.
The empty tomb
is based on evidence,
and isn't evidence your trade?
It is, yes, but what if...
what if the Resurrection
is one of the historical details
that was recorded incorrectly?
How can we know?
How can we ever know?
(sighs) Lee...
let me ask you something.
Do you really want
to know the truth,
or is your mind already made up,
- regardless of the facts?
- Oh, look, Doc,
I-I'm a journalist, okay?
It's my job
to challenge assumptions
until they're proven otherwise.
That's all I'm doing.
Well, I get that.
But when is enough evidence
enough evidence?
He 's so frustrating.
I'm just not good at this,
I guess.
I just...
I want to share it with him.
I want to celebrate it,
and I'm walking on eggshells
in my own home.
Well, it's probably
the same for him.
He's walking
on eggshells, too, so...
give yourself a break.
But the more I try to reach him,
- the more he pulls away.
- Okay, so...
how did you reach him before?
Well, We'd talk.
We'd really talk
and listen and...
Do that.
- LESLIE: Easier said than done.
- (Alfie laughs)
Koblinsky. Koblinsky.
You gotta be kidding me.
Says here that Koblinsky
was Hicks's arresting officer
six times.
Obviously, these guys
knew each other.
In fact, when I interviewed
Hicks, he slipped up.
He called Koblinsky
by his first name.
So, what's your theory?
My theory is that Hicks
is an informant
for the gang task force
and Koblinsky is his handler.
Which means a gang member
just shot his own handler
and, for some reason,
Chicago PD's covering it up.
PD's protecting this guy.
He's a cop shooter.
I can't run that unless you
get me a source inside the PD...
Someone to confirm Hicks
is an informant.
Well, I'm gonna need
a little help.
Dinner and drinks only.
Well, drinks at least.
Bring me back a receipt.
And don't close the...
MAN: What do you want
from me, Strobe]?
It's an open-and-shut case.
That's all I know.
(chuckles) So, you're...
you're on the gang squad.
That's all you know?
You gotta give me something.
Can... can I get you dinner?
You like steak?
LEE (clears throat):
Here's my theory.
Koblinsky's on your team,
and Hicks is your informant.
You think that, uh,
'cause you take down
a big car company
that there's a conspiracy
underneath every rock?
No, don't-don't...
Come on, Acosta,
you know that I'm right.
Koblinsky's a hero, okay?
No one's taking that away
from him.
But his own snitch shoots him,
and your bosses
don't want it getting out.
That doesn't look good for
your new department, politics
or whatever, I get it.
You want to know what I hear?
I hear they're gonna knock
Hicks's time
down to petty time in county.
They're gonna put him back
on the streets.
They're offering Hicks a plea
to keep his mouth shut.
Now, you don't want that.
Now, all I need
to run this story
is one source from the squad.
That way, everybody knows
Hicks is a stoolie,
he goes away for a long time,
and, boom, your task force
is free of cop shooters.
I'm not gonna quote you.
I'm not gonna use your name.
You don't have to go
on the record. Nothing.
How about this?
If I'm even
in the right ballpark,
you leave the tip.
Drop a couple bucks
on the table,
get up, you walk out of here,
I know that I'm safe
to run my story.
I'll do you one better.
I'll pay for the meal.
It was crap anyways.
DUBOIS: Now, how confident
are you on this?
Get it to the copy desk.
Front page...
Green Streak edition.
Uh, and d-don't...
(Lee grunts)
I made you coffee.
Oh, okay.
Shut up and take the coffee.
- I wanted to ask you a favor.
- Mm-hmm.
Uh, the... I'm taking the kids
to church.
Come with us.
Why would I do that?
Because I asked you to...
Nicely... and...
because, even though
you think I've lost my mind,
you'd still do anything
to make me happy.
(Lee grumbles)
I'm still gonna bring
my notebook,
in case I uncover
a church scandal or something.
Get ready to go.
- 15 minutes.
- Mm-mm.
When I'm depressed
and I get down so low
And then I see You
coming to me
It's all right
You put this love
in my heart
You put
this love in my heart
You put this love
in my heart.
Some of you have had bad
experiences in church before,
and I get that.
Churches aren't perfect.
Pastors aren't perfect.
I know I'm not.
But that's not God.
That's people.
God wants to be your Father.
To love you until you know
His promise of Heaven.
Because this is
the simple truth of our faith.
God made us.
We messed things up.
Christ paid for our mess,
and all we have to do
is receive Him.
It really is as simple as that.
- Hey, Lee.
- Hey. Good to see you, Alfie.
Good to see you.
I see you brought the baby.
Yeah, yeah. He's growing up.
Hey, uh, can I talk to you
for a minute?
Um, sure... sure.
Yeah, I- | just wanted to say
we are grateful, uh,
for what you did with Alison.
- Oh...
- And-and we owe you.
And... and-and I-I don't
mean that lightly.
But now, this whole thing
with Leslie,
it needs to stop.
I don't understand.
You're-you're putting ideas
in her head.
You're drawing her into...
in this, and...
and-and I know how this works.
I know you folks
have a mandate, okay?
You need to raise money.
You need to get the good news
out and all that.
I'm just letting you know
that you're gonna need to
find someone else to recruit.
Lee, your wife
is not brainwashed.
She's seeking God,
and I'm just trying to help.
She is vulnerable,
and you are taking advantage.
She's my wife, this is our life,
and I want you
to stay out of it.
Now, is that clear?
All right, come on.
- Let's go.
- Well...
anyhow, see you.
- Okay.
- Alison?
Come on, sweetie.
(doorbell rings)
There he is.
Hello, sweetheart.
- Hi. Hi.
- Big guy. Oh, he's so sweet.
Hi, honey.
Oh, Walt,
look at how handsome he is.
- I'll say.
- Oh, he's an angel.
- (laughing)
- (baby crying)
Oh, sweetheart. Oh...
You know what,
it's time for your nap.
Nap time, so...
Okay, honey, there you go.
I love his name.
What's his middle name?
Kyle Christopher.
You didn't use "John"
in his name?
Kyle Christopher
is a beautiful name.
It's a beautiful name,
but "John" has been
in the Strobel line
for generations.
Oh, here we go.
Because I didn't want
to name my son John, okay?
Your grandpa's John.
So is your older brother.
Mm-hmm. It's also
the euphemism for a toilet
and the client of a prostitute.
- (Lee clears throat)
- Sorry I brought it up.
LEE: Don't know why
you guys came anyway.
Nobody invited you.
I'm gonna get some air.
(Walter sighs)
Leslie, it was lovely
to see you.
- Thanks for coming.
- Thanks.
Lee, was that really necessary?
I learned from the best
of 'em, Mom.
Oh, I just wish
the two of you could learn
- to understand each other.
- Oh, you know what?
I wish a lot of things.
I... What do you want from me?
The guy never cared about me
my whole life.
Now, suddenly, I got kids,
and he wants
to be best friends? No.
It's too late.
Honey, I'm gonna go
do some work.
(car engine starts)
I'm sorry. I know
it's always hard with him.
That can never happen to us.
LEE: Ray, I'm telling you,
I've checked it out.
I've interviewed a dozen
historians, philosophers,
There's all these accounts
of actual eyewitnesses
which corroborate each other.
People with zero motivation
to lie.
In fact, they should've lied.
Some of them ended up dying
for their beliefs.
I'm losing my mind, Ray.
I wake up every morning,
and, um, I think to myself,
"Maybe today's the day.
Maybe... maybe today
she'll come to her senses."
And she doesn't.
You know, just gets worse.
Thing of it is, she's different.
She's actually different.
You know, that's what scares
the heck out of me.
Just miss my wife.
I wish that I could be
of more help to you, Lee.
But just remember...
Leslie knows full well that you
don't approve of all this,
but she is still your wife.
And you love her very much.
Just make sure
she knows that, too.
(footsteps approaching)
You're up early.
enjoying the quiet.
Baby's still sleeping.
You Okay?
Just... feeling grateful.
For you.
For us.
Yeah. Me, too.
What would you say if we...
went out tonight?
Grabbed some dinner.
Maybe, uh...
maybe a little dancing.
But just you and me.
No kids.
That be crazy?
- Little bit?
- Yeah.
A little bit.
Let's do it.
- Yeah?
- Mm-hmm.
I want to take care of us.
You and only you.
Mr. Hicks, do you understand
the felony charges
that have been
filed against you?
Yes, sir.
How do you plead?
Guilty, sir.
(gallery gasping, murmuring)
This is not the first time
I've seen you
in my courtroom, son.
I know you thought
you'd be walking away today
with a slap on the wrist,
but with recent information
that's come out in the press,
well, today you're gonna get
some hard time.
At my discretion,
I'm sentencing you
to a minimum of 15 years
- at the Joliet State Prison.
- (applause)
- Bailiff, take him away.
- (gavel slams)
Mr. Hicks.
Guilty, huh?
We're all guilty
of something, reporter,
but I ain't guilty of this.
Okay, so then why not
maintain your innocence?
Why cop a plea?
Your story didn't give me
no choice, did it?
Did your story give me a choice?
Yes, the courtroom was filled
with police officers
all awaiting the verdict...
Excuse me.
(phone rings)
- Dubois.
- LEE: He pled out, chief.
15 years.
I guess your theory
panned out, huh?
- Yeah. -Yeah, I wouldn't want
to be Hicks, though.
The guy's now a cop shooter
and a gang informant.
That's gonna be
one tough stretch.
- Yep.
- Ten grafs for page one.
Yeah. Heading back to you.
All right.
(playing soft tune)
You know what I was
just thinking?
I miss you.
I'm right here.
I wish I could make it
more understandable,
what I'm going through.
I feel like I'm on this journey
to the most amazing place
I've ever been,
and I can't take you.
- I... I-I can't even...
- (Lee sighs)
I don't know how
to tell you about it.
I'm sorry.
(engine shuts off)
Look, Les, I...
I understand...
that all this
feels good right now.
I mean, I went to church.
heard the music.
I get that you want this
to be true.
But what if it's not?
Wouldn't you want to know that
before you've dedicated
your entire life to it?
Of course.
But what if it is?
What if it is true?
Wouldn't you want to know that?
There's a verse that says...
faith is the evidence of things
we can't actually see.
You believe what you can see
and touch and feel,
and I feel this.
- I can see it. I-I know it.
- Les...
You-you can't.
But I...
I do.
It's the same way
I know I love you.
Yeah, but that's...
that's different, Les.
I'm real.
I'm-I'm... l-I'm a person.
We-we have a relationship.
Hon, I know we've been
fighting and...
it's been weird lately, but...
I love you more now
than I ever have.
Based on what?
"Based on what?"
Honestly, it's since
I accepted Jesus.
My love for you
has only... it's only grown
and it's only deepened.
And if that's not proof
of something,
I don't know what is...
No, that's not proof
of anything, Les.
That's feelings.
It's not proof.
And my feelings are a valid
experience that-that...
- Les, I-I...
- They're real to me.
I-I don't like...
this version of us.
I don't... I don't like
what you're becoming.
And if I'm looking ahead
and we're still having
this conversation
five years from now...
we're having this conversation
two years from now...
I don't want to be there
for that.
Okay? I won't be.
I'm gonna check on the kids.
- ALFIE: We can sit here for a minute.
- LESLIE: Okay.
- Okay. Thank you. Okay.
- Okay.
Alfie, I'm-I'm losing hope.
I'm losing hope for Lee.
I'm losing hope for my marriage.
Oh, come on, now.
It's gonna be okay.
- It'll be all right.
- No,
- I don't know what to do.
- All right, okay.
I know that it's scary.
I do. Trust me.
I've been there.
But I can promise you this.
In His time and in His way,
God always keeps His promises.
And what did He promise Ezekiel?
"I will give you a new heart.
"I will put a new spirit in you.
"I will remove from you
your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh."
Now, that's a truth
you already know.
But it's the same truth for Lee.
You just gotta be patient.
Thank you.
- Thank you.
- Oh, come here.
You're gonna be fine.
I promise.
I promise,
I'm praying for both of you.
(indistinct chatter)
Hey, just because
they said they saw Jesus
doesn't mean they actually did.
- I'm sorry. Was that for me?
- (Lee stammers)
Maybe the eyewitnesses
to the Resurrection...
Maybe they're delusional.
You know what I mean?
Maybe they only thought
they saw Jesus.
Maybe it was, like,
mind control or brainwashing.
You need to see a psychologist.
Oh, you think I got
a screw loose?
Yeah, well,
that's another story.
But if you're talking about
first-century mass psychosis,
you need to talk
to a psychologist.
I'm already ahead of you.
- Hey. I need you to find me...
- Sorry.
A good psychologist
to interview.
- A ps-psy...
- Psychologist. That's right.
A guy with... with a lot
of academic street cred.
Knows the human mind
better than God does.
No pressure, kid.
Don't listen to him.
Dr. Roberta Waters, president
of the American Association
of Psychoanalysts, agnostic...
Ah, agnostic. Finally.
ROD: and a leading authority
on human behavior
at Purdue University.
Indiana. Great.
Dr. Waters.
Ah. Hello, Mr. Strobel.
As much as I would like
to help a fellow skeptic,
what you're proposing
is completely impossible.
But how can you say that?
I mean, if Charles Manson
can turn his followers into...
murderous zombies, surely the
followers of the Christ cult
could be convinced
of their own delusions.
Listen, hallucinations
are like dreams.
They happen in individual minds.
They don't spread
like the common cold.
Okay, so... a hypnotist
turns a stage full
of insurance salesmen into...
into clucking chickens...
Then that's...
that's not really
happening or...?
No, of course it is.
The power of suggestion
can be very profound.
But it's one thing
to be mesmerized
into making animal noises.
It's quite another
for 500 people
to have the same dream.
To be honest, that would be
an even bigger miracle
than the Resurrection itself.
And without an empty tomb,
you and I, we're not even
having this conversation.
If Jesus recovered
from his injuries,
that solves that problem.
All these people could have
easily seen him, yes?
Yes, but I'm afraid
that's not a brain issue.
You need to speak
to a medical doctor.
Of course.
Dr. Waters, again,
thank you for your time.
You've been most gracious.
Before you go,
may I ask you something?
It's about your father.
I'm just curious
what your relationship
with him is like.
Let me guess.
Distant, cold,
doesn't give much affirmation
or express love?
Guilty on all charges.
I imagine, as a skeptic,
you're familiar with history's
great names in atheism.
Hume, Nietzsche, Sartre, Freud.
Of course, yes.
Some of my greatest heroes.
Did you know that all of them
had a father
who either died
when they were young,
abandoned them,
was physically
or emotionally abusive?
In the world of therapy,
it's called a father wound.
No, I...
I was not aware of that.
But with all due respect,
Dr. Waters,
I did not have a loving father,
but that doesn't mean
that I have a problem
with those who do.
What I have a problem with
is some made-up loving father.
If God was real...
I could accept that He loves me.
I just don't believe He is.
I don't disagree.
Well, unfortunately,
my wife does.
The problems that it's
currently causing my marriage
are very real.
thank you.
"I will give you a new heart
"and put a new spirit in you.
"I will remove from you
your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh."
"I will give you a new heart
"and put a new spirit in you.
"I will remove from you
your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh."
LEE (muttering):
Oh, interview...
Alexander Metherell.
(clicks tongue)
Found you.
Better than Wisconsin.
(clears throat)
Uh, Mr. Strobel?
- Yeah?
- You have a visitor.
Hey. Officer Koblinsky.
How you feeling?
Eh, getting there.
Good. Thanks, Rod.
Just wanted to come by
and, uh, you know,
say thanks for the story,
for telling the truth.
Yeah, well, it's my job
and, uh, in this case,
my pleasure.
So, you got everything
you need on Hicks?
Wrapping the story up?
Yeah, well, that's...
that's all done.
Uh, you don't have to worry
about him shooting anyone
- for another, uh, 15 years.
Ooh. -Uh,
still have bullet fragments
in my spleen.
- Ah, right, I forgot.
- Yeah.
Price for doing my job,
I guess, huh?
- Thanks again, Strobel.
- Yeah. Feel better.
(muttering quietly)
Not sure why you want
to do this now.
Hicks has already been
Just humor me, Marlow.
And here's what's weird.
He's got...
bullet fragments in his spleen,
but the entry wound is up here.
It's-it's as if...
it's as if the weapon barrel
was pointing inside
the breast pocket.
Yeah, you can see
the powder burns right there.
Now, a couple years back,
I was doing research
on concealed weapons.
People disguising firearms
as cigarette lighters,
belt buckles.
That's a pen.
It's a writing utensil.
ls it?
What is that?
Spent shell casing.
That, Mr. Marlow, is a gun.
That is a...
a .22-caliber pen gun.
Look at that right there.
That's what shot Koblinsky.
This is illegal, for any cop
to carry a weapon like this
while on duty.
How could nobody have seen this?
'Cause nobody
was looking for it.
Koblinsky had a secret.
He played the victim card,
and I bought it.
Well, so did the cops.
He's actually innocent.
He was wrongfully prosecuted,
is what he is.
You gotta get back
to that judge.
You gotta get Hicks
out of lockup.
Can you get this stuff in...
I got it. I got it.
Just, you go.
How could you miss this?!
Koblinsky played me.
You let yourself get played,
Mr. Best Seller.
And you put the integrity
of this paper at risk,
not to mention putting
an innocent man in harm's way.
Whatever's been
distracting you lately,
it got in the way
of your reporting.
Now, go write me a retraction.
I gotta call downstairs
and have them hold the presses
so we can remake A-1.
Yes, sir.
After this, um...
I'd like to take a few
personal days, if I could.
Take more than that.
Get me Production.
Leslie Strobel,
today is very much
like a wedding ceremony.
By taking the step of baptism,
you are publicly proclaiming
that you are a follower
of Jesus.
Do you believe He is your Savior
and died for your sins?
I do.
PREACHER: And is it your desire
to make that belief public
b)' being baptized?
Yes. Yes, it is.
it is my privilege
to baptize you
in the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit.
(car engine revving)
(tires screech)
(engine shuts off)
Thank God.
Where were you?
I was just out celebrating
on my own.
- Okay. -And then I remembered
that I need to go
to Los Angeles tomorrow,
so I have to pack a bag.
No, no, no, no.
Los Angeles? No, no.
What happened today?
- You left. You left.
- Uh-huh.
- What happened?
- Well, I didn't want to...
I didn't want to interrupt
the wedding festivities.
It's... that's a big deal.
- It's a metaphor.
- Uh-huh.
You know what
a metaphor is, right?
You're a smart guy, Lee, right?
- Married to Jesus. Yep.
- Hey. Come here.
Come here. Listen to me.
Today was important to me.
You know that.
I don't understand
how you could just...
- That makes two of us, Leslie.
- Lee, I'm trying here!
- I know you're trying.
- I'm trying... Hey, listen!
I know you're trying.
- I can feel you trying, Leslie.
- Can you?
I am. I'm trying. I'm tr...
Behind closed doors
every day, hoping
- and praying that you can...
- Yeah.
Fix me up so I'm good enough
for the Almighty.
- Is that what you want?
- You need to leave.
- I'm not gonna go.
- You need to sleep it off.
- I'm not gonna leave my own house.
- Sleep it off.
- Sleep it off.
- No. This is my house!
- I'm not gonna leave!
- Lee, get out!
- It's my house! It's my family!
- Get out!
Daddy, stop being mean to Mommy.
- Alison, what are you doing?
Get upstairs now! -LESLIE: Hey.
- Keep your voice down!
- Go!
- (baby crying) -You just go
to California. Just go.
You and only you, hon, right?!
You and only you.
Until something better
comes along.
Daddy's sorry.
Daddy's sorry.
He didn't mean to scare you.
(door creaks)
(tires screech)
give Lee a new heart.
Put a new spirit in him.
Remove from him
his heart of stone
and give him a heart of flesh.
So, forgive me for making you
travel all the way
out here, but...
when someone rings me up
and says he wants to dispute
the most significant event
in human history,
I feel it's important
that we do it face-to-face.
- Don't you?
- Yeah, that's fine.
I, uh...
l- | appreciate your time.
(clears throat)
So, my line of attack is this:
The reason the eyewitnesses
were able to see Jesus
after Golgotha
is because he never died
on the cross.
Because, if he doesn't die,
there's no resurrection.
- Yes?
- That's right.
So... so, whether or not
Jesus himself or, uh...
or someone else took him off
of the cross early
or if he fakes his
own death, it doesn't matter.
It completely discounts every
aspect of the Resurrection.
Right. The swoon theory.
Yeah, well, he passed out.
He didn't die.
I'm afraid there's a long line
of skeptics in front of you
with that hypothesis.
Including only a billion
Muslims the world over
who also don't believe
that Jesus died on the cross
because the Koran says so.
With all due respect to Islam,
the Koran was written
six centuries after Christ.
I prefer my historical sources
- a bit closer to actual events, yeah?
- I understand.
But-but you concede
that it's possible.
(Metherell chuckles)
Mr. Strobel, I am a medical
doctor and a scientist.
I have seen a great many
strange phenomenon
- in my lifetime.
- Mm-hmm.
But the swoon theory is rubbish.
(chuckles) "Rubbish."
That's a... is that a...
a medical opinion?
Yeah. It is, actually.
swoon theorists tend to skim
over the fact
that Jesus was flogged
prior to his crucifixion.
Do you know what happens
in a Roman flogging?
Um, yeah, the person
is lashed with a whip.
No, not lashed.
Scourged and pummeled savagely.
You see, the...
the cowhide whip
is braided with metal balls
and bone fragments.
The flesh on Jesus' back
would've been shredded.
The very muscles
and sinews themselves
laid open to exposure.
The flogging itself
would have left Jesus
in critical condition
from massive blood loss.
Which is why he collapsed
under the weight of the cross
that the Romans
made him carry through town.
Okay, so is it possible
that Jesus survives
being spiked to the cross?
Well, yes, you could survive it,
but it's child's play
compared to what comes next
in a crucifixion.
Slow, agonizing death
by asphyxiation.
Come with me.
The stress
on Jesus' chest muscles
would have locked his lungs
into the inhale position.
Right, so in order
to let the breath out,
he would have had
to shove himself up
using his spiked wrists
and feet,
scraping his shredded back
against the wood of the cross.
And then sagged back down again
in order to draw
his next breath,
which he would have had
to have done
over and over and over again
until utter exhaustion
just made it impossible.
And then, inevitably...
He dies.
Uh, in... in theory.
But let's-let's remember,
these soldiers,
they're not doctors, okay?
So maybe, uh...
maybe they took him
off the cross and they...
they thought he was dead
but, in fact, he wasn't.
No, of course they weren't
medical doctors.
They were professional killers.
Right, and they were quite good
at their jobs.
They had to be.
If a prisoner escaped alive,
they themselves
would be executed.
(sighs) Mr. Strobel,
the crucifixion of Jesus
is one of the best-attested
events in the ancient world.
And, if you will,
the final nail in the coffin
in the swoon theory is this:
When the soldiers
thrust their spear
between Jesus' ribs,
do you know what came out?
Blood and water.
Which we now know
is a description
of pericardial effusion
as a result of death
by asphyxiation.
This is not a condition
anyone could fake.
And so, to answer your question,
yes, it is my medical opinion
that Jesus Christ died
on that cross.
Excuse me, Doctor?
- I just need your signature.
- One moment.
Yeah, but-but-but...
I got a...
I-I have a real problem
with most of the experts
that I've talked to here.
- Which is?
- (sighs)
Which is that most of them
are not impartial.
And if I'm gonna take a guess,
I would say
that you are not, either.
And you would be correct, sir.
Though I have learned
that most impartial travelers
who undertake this journey
rarely remain so.
However, I can refer you
to one of the most impartial
sources that I know.
Would you trust
the Journal of the American
Medical Association?
Of course.
It is a stellar
scientific journal.
Even I will admit that.
- "On the Physical Death
of Jesus." -Mm-hmm.
"Clearly, the weight of the
medical and historical evidence
"indicates that Jesus
was dead before the wound
"to his side was inflicted.
"Accordingly, interpretations
based on the assumption
"that Jesus did not die
on the cross
"appear to be at odds
with modern medical knowledge."
Doc, I gotta tell you,
you're, uh...
you're not telling me
what I hoped to hear today.
(pager beeping)
(phone ringing)
Hey, it's me.
Everything all right?
Kids okay?
it's your father.
"My help comes from the Lord,
"the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
"He will not let your foot slip.
"He who watches over you
will not slumber.
"Indeed, He who watches
over Israel
"will neither slumber nor sleep.
"The Lord watches over you.
"The Lord is your shade
at your right hand.
"The sun will not harm you
by day, nor the moon by night.
"The Lord will keep you
from all harm.
"He will watch over your life.
"The Lord will watch
over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."
In the name of the Father
and the Son
and the Holy Spirit.
(quiet chatter)
(sniffles quietly)
(footsteps approaching)
You Okay?
Did you know he had this
in his wallet?
You know, your father,
he was proud of everything
you ever accomplished.
Look, he didn't know
how to say it very well,
but he loved you, son.
He really loved you.
(footsteps departing)
(crying softly)
REPORTER (over radio): 80
nations were represented...
I'm going camping,
and I'm bringing an apple...
- (baby crying)
- a banana...
and a chinchilla.
I'm going camping,
and I'm gonna bring an apple...
- (Lee shushing)
- a banana, uh...
- ls he okay?
- Mm-hmm.
whatever you said and...
- A chinchilla.
- A chinchilla...
REPORTER: savagely beaten
in a prison fight
- at Cook County Jail today.
- And a donkey. -Sweetie,
- hold on, hold on, hold on.
- Sources inside the prison
say Hicks was targeted
by gang members
as a result of recent news
identifying him
as a police informant.
It is believed
that the prison guards
did little to protect Hicks,
a fate not uncommon
for cop shooters.
Hicks was immediately taken
to Mercy Hospital,
where he's in serious condition.
Elsewhere in Chicago,
the wind is expected to kick up
this evening over the lake
and continue...
(radio shuts off)
(machines whirring, beeping)
(indistinct radio communication)
How's... how's he doing?
Been in and out.
Mostly out.
Mr. Hicks?
Mr. Hicks, it's Lee Strobel.
Just wanted to say that, um...
that it's my fault.
I'm... I missed the...
the truth.
I'm-I'm sorry.
I just... l- | didn't see it.
HICKS (softly):
You didn't want to see it.
What's that?
You didn't want to see it.
LEE: I've hit a brick Wall.
I have read through
every book you've given me.
I've gone through
every argument.
I've followed every lead.
At some point, young man,
you're going to have
to plant your flag
on a mountain of uncertainty,
where not every question
is answered.
The human mind
will never get to the bottom
of every mystery in the cosmos.
Believing in God,
not believing in God...
Either way,
still takes a leap of faith.
So you're saying,
even in our disbelief,
that we still take
a leap of faith.
More or less.
Me, well, I've come
to my own conclusion.
You're gonna have to do
the same thing for yourself.
What are you doing here?
I thought you were banished.
What's the matter?
You people and your God.
You just... you know,
you talk in circles.
You offer... you offer
just enough evidence
but never enough
to be conclusive.
Then you fill in
all the gaps with,
"Oh, well, yeah,
you just gotta have faith."
It's a bunch of nonsense.
You're really irritating,
you know that?
(Lee groans)
Don't start with me, Kenny.
You don't waste a lick of time
bragging to all of us
how great a reporter you are.
So, why can't you put up
or shut up on this story?
What are you even talking about?
Here's where the chili
meets the cheese, my friend.
One of my heroes
was C.S. Lewis,
a man who began as a skeptic,
much like yourself.
At the end of his journey,
you know what he said?
He said,
if Christianity is false,
it's of zero importance.
But if it's true,
there's nothing more important
in the entire universe.
So, you want your wife back?
Well, hey, guess what,
people in hell want ice water.
Not everybody gets
everything they want.
(slams table)
Stop blaming me
and the Church and God,
and do your job.
Stack up the evidence,
follow the facts,
and write the story,
win or lose.
Good night.
Father, please...
please soften Lee's heart.
Put a new spirit in him.
Remove from him
his heart of stone,
and give him a heart of flesh.
LEE: The only way to truth
is through facts.
The entire Christian faith
hinges on the resurrection
of Jesus.
If it didn't happen,
it's a house of cards.
No, you just have to show
that Jesus died
and he was seen afterwards.
How can we be sure
of the reliability
of those manuscripts?
Archaeologists have recovered
5,843 Greek
New Testament manuscripts.
Nothing else in history
even comes close.
Would you trust the Journal
- of the American Medical Association?
- LEE: Yes.
METHERELL: Jesus Christ
died on that cross.
LEE: You're not telling me
what I hoped to hear today.
What if it is true?
Wouldn't you want to know that?
CRAIG: The first recorded
account tells us
that he was buried in a tomb.
The empty tomb
is based on evidence.
Isn't evidence your trade?
Faith is the evidence
of things we can't actually see.
Any careful historian will see
that the core account
is consistent
even if a... a few
of the secondary details
are told from different
HABERMAS: 500 separate people
saw Jesus at the same time.
WATERS: That would be
an even bigger miracle
than the Resurrection itself.
CRAIG: The disciples reported
what actually happened.
LEE: People with
zero motivation to lie.
CRAIG: Do you really want
to know the truth?
When is enough evidence
enough evidence?
LESLIE: I felt something
that is maybe more real
than anything
I've ever felt in my life.
METHERELL: This is not
a condition anyone could fake.
RAY: Still takes a leap of faith.
But why would he do it?
It's really very simple.
All right, God.
You win.
(door opens)
- Hey-
- Hey-
Are you okay?
Yeah, I'm fine.
How's he doing?
All right.
Come over here.
I want to talk to you
for a second.
Are you...
are you sure you're okay?
So, I have not been, um...
completely honest with you
over the last few months.
That's a really scary way
- to start a conversation.
- I... Just-just-just...
hang with me here, okay?
When you became a Christian,
- I freaked out. I mean...
- Mm-hmm.
Yeah, I was scared, um...
And I felt like
that I needed to, um...
to save you.
And so I decided to set out
to prove this was all a big con.
And so that's what
I've been doing all this time.
Your research?
Yeah. I-I mean, look at this.
It's... this is all...
all that stuff.
That's why I've been
so distracted.
That's why I went to California.
I just had to prove
this whole thing wrong.
But I couldn't.
The evidence for your faith...
it's more overwhelming
than I could've ever imagined.
But it wasn't
just the evidence, okay?
It was you.
You never stopped loving me.
You never gave up on me.
And I think, because of that,
God didn't, either.
(Leslie chuckles)
Wh... (laughs)
I mean, I don't...
I don't think God
gave up on you, either,
but what... (laughing):
what are you saying?
Uh... I can't even fathom
that I'm gonna say
these words out loud.
I believe.
Oh, hey, hey.
Let me show you something.
Show you...
"But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right
to become children of God."
"To those who believe
in His name."
And what does that mean?
That... means...
plus receive...
equals become.
(inhales deeply)
Okay. Um...
So, then, how do I...
how do I receive?
What do I... What's-what's the
protocol for, uh... for that?
There's no wrong way
or right way.
Just... you.
- You talk to God.
- Mm-hmm.
You tell Him your heart.
A-And we do that right now?
I mean, shouldn't we go
to church or...?
- Mm-mm. Mm-mm.
- (Lee chuckling)
Right here, right now.
- This is church.
- Okay.
Come here.
(sighs heavily)
God, um...
I have no idea what I'm doing.
(chuckles softly)
But I cannot ignore
the evidence.
And I don't know everything.
Uh, I- | never will know
Um, but I...
I know enough.
And I believe it.
And I'm sorry for what I've...
what I've put my wife through,
um, for what I put
my family through, uh...
But I believe You're real,
and I don't know
what comes next.
I don't know...
I don't know what it means.
I just know that I want...
I want that.
I want...
I want whatever's next.
So let's do that.
Thank you.
I guess I'm crazy, too.
Pitching him today.
Don't blow it.
Watch this.
(knock at door)
I got a pitch for you.
(Dubois grunts)
Well, that didn't last long.
Piece of junk.
You hear about Hicks?
Released from the hospital.
No longer a resident
of Crook County Jail.
I did.
That's great news.
Come on, this is a joke, right?
No. No, it's not.
I-I-I-I want to do
a first-person
feature story, okay?
An odyssey.
Uh, one man's journey
from skepticism to faith.
Forget it, Lee.
I mean...
good for you, I guess, but...
we can't publish
something like this.
We'd lose all credibility.
So would you.
I really wish
that you would reconsider.
Stick to what you know, Lee.
Go on, now.
Get out of here.
Not until you've
at least heard me out.
- ALISON: Hi, Daddy.
- LEE: Hey, you. How are you?
- LEE: Hi.
- 30?
- (Lee sighs)
Dubois said no.
- He did?
- Yeah.
- LESLIE: Oh, no. Sorry, hon.
- ALISON: I did it! I did it!
What did you did?
I can finally reach the faucet.
- LEE: Oh, my Lord.
- ALISON: I'm tall enough now.
LEE: Look at you!
You're a big girl now.
Oh, no, you need to stop that.
That means you're growing up.
You're not our little girl
It's not that big
of a deal, Daddy.
I think it's a big deal.
Hey, how 'bout a book?
A What?
Instead of an article,
how 'bout a book?
What do you think about that?
- ALISON: Yeah! Definitely!
- LEE: Yeah?
(Lee chuckles)
'Cause I have seen
Heaven's door is open to me
And I have shook
to the bones
And I've seen your face
As I lay on the floor
And I have cried
And I have sought
Like a beggar in my soul
Like a beggar in the world
Just to find you, Lord
'Cause, Lord, I believe
Help me believe
Lord, I can see
But I still
can't see clearly
Lord, I believe
Would you help me believe
'Cause I want it so bad
'Cause I want it so bad...
'Cause I want it so bad
Like a beggar in my soul
Like a beggar in the world
Just to find you, Lord
'Cause, Lord, I believe
Help me believe
Lord, I can see
But I still
can't see clearly
Lord, I believe
Would you help me believe
'Cause I want it so bad
Yeah, ah
Oh, oh
Yeah, ah
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Yeah, ah
Oh, oh
'Cause I want it so bad
'Cause I want it so bad...
'Cause I want it so bad
Like a beggar in my soul
Like a beggar in the world
Just to find you, Lord.
(song ends)